Benefits of Anterior Approach to Hip Replacement
by Dr. Eric Grossman
Typically after patients have a hip replaced with the conventional approach, they go to inpatient rehab following 3 to 4 days in the hospital. When patients eventually return home, they are given strict “hip precautions” because of increased risk of dislocation during the first 6 -8 weeks after surgery. These precautions include no bending more than 90 degrees from the waist and no crossing of the legs, and they must sleep with a pillow between their legs for 6 weeks. Because the anterior approach spares major muscles and tendons, patients are at low risk for hip dislocation and therefore do not need to follow “hip precautions.” This allows them to have a more natural & “comfortable” recovery without worrying about “hip precautions.” Another major benefit of the anterior approach is that due to the fact that muscles and tendons are not detached, the patient returns to a more normal walking pattern more quickly. After undergoing an anterior approach hip replacement, patients typically return home after 1- or 2-day hospital stay, and do not require inpatient rehab.
Patients are typically up and walking with a cane, if needed, the day after surgery and typically stand and walk the same day as surgery. Another benefit of this approach is decreased pain.
The anterior surgery approach may not be appropriate for all patients, including those who have extra abdominal fat, which could interfere with incision healing and lead to postsurgical infection.
It’s vital that physicians consider their patients on a case-by-case basis. Whether or not a patient receives this type of surgery also depends on the surgeon’s comfort level and experience with the procedure.